By Gabriel Siles-Brügge

With the stagnation of the Doha around of multilateral talks, exchange liberalisation is more and more undertaken via unfastened exchange agreements. Gabriel Siles-Brügge examines the EU's determination following the 2006 'Global Europe' technique to negotiate such agreements with rising economies. Eschewing the merely materialist factors trendy within the box, he develops a singular constructivist argument to spotlight the position of language and ideas in shaping european alternate coverage. Drawing on huge interviews and documentary research, Siles-Brügge indicates how european exchange policymakers have privileged the pursuits of exporters to the detriment of import-competing teams, developing an ideational primary for market-opening. Even throughout the on-going fiscal situation the overriding mantra has been that the EU's destiny future health relies on its skill to compete in international markets. The more and more neoliberal orientation of ecu exchange coverage has additionally had vital outcomes for its fiscal international relations with the constructing economies of the African, Caribbean and Pacific team of states.

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As Blyth (2002: 10) notably put it, ‘structures do not come 32 Constructing European Union Trade Policy with an instruction sheet’. One could always foresee a context in which it was ‘appropriate’ to show some bravado (maybe in the company of boisterous friends) and attempt to swim across. Thus, although there may be material constraints to action, what is ultimately the determining factor is how an actor responds to these. This is what, according to Adler (1997), could be called the ‘middle ground’ between rationalism – where ideas are best adjunct to material forces – and ‘interpretivist’ approaches (such as post-structuralism or the Frankfurt School) – where the emphasis is almost entirely on language and meaning in constituting reality.

Although some scholars have provided insights into the conditions under which exporters may mobilise and exert pressure, the fact remains that such approaches have still accepted the importance of collective action dynamics and thus postulated very specific conditions under which exporters can be seen to exert influence (for instance, ‘reciprocity’ and trade policy insulation) (Bailey et al. 1997; Gilligan 1997). 28 Constructing European Union Trade Policy This understanding of interest group mobilisation has also permeated the literature concerning preferential liberalisation.

Although much maligned by constructivist scholars, the notion of rationality employed by rational choice scholars can still serve as a useful ‘as if’ heuristic to understand the hypothetical consequences of purely rationalegoistic behaviour on which neoclassical economic models are premised (Hay 2004a: 59–60). Going one step further, one could argue that in certain contexts, actors have internalised particular ‘rationalities’ so that their behaviour does correspond to that of rationalist models.

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